Packing Tips

We know that packing can be exciting – after all, it means it’s almost time to go! While packing can be fun, it can also be stressful as you decide what is essential for your trip, especially for adventures with luggage restrictions. We want to maximize that excitement and minimize the stress, which is why we include a carefully curated packing list for each of our adventures.

In addition to country and adventure specific items, we always include a section of “AdventureWomen Essentials” in every packing list. These are items we recommend bringing no matter the destination. We’ve created these lists from years of experience visiting each destination, and we work hard to include all of the items that you might need. Does this mean that you will use every single band aid and wet wipe? We hope not, but it is always good to be prepared for anything!

Here are our answers to some of our most common packing questions:

“Do I really need a soft-sided duffel bag?”

If your packing list says that you need a soft-sided duffel, then yes! We take pride in building itineraries that take you off the beaten path, and you might need to take a small airplane (or a boat) or trek with porters to reach a remote destination. Sometimes van space is limited, and bags need to squish in the trunk or go on the roof. In each of these cases, it’s important to follow the guidelines in the packing list, pack light, and use a soft-sided duffel.

Pro tip: we recommend the Eagle Creek 110L Migrate Duffel bag, which is completely soft-sided but still has two wheels.

“What does it mean to bring nicer clothes for dinner?”

Good question! We never require anything fancy on our trips (so leave that ball gown at home), but you might want to change out of your daytime adventure clothes and freshen up for dinner. For this reason, we suggest one or two pairs of comfortable pants/shirts or casual dresses, depending on the location, but it’s totally up to you!

“Is Gore-Tex rain gear really necessary? What about a rain cover for my backpack?”

Gore-Tex isn’t required, but waterproof clothing is absolutely necessary. Gore-Tex is a tried-and-true material that rarely fails and is considered the gold standard, but you can always find inexpensive alternatives in your local outdoor store or online. Just make sure it’s waterproof, not water resistant. Yes, there is a difference! Pro tip: we suggest wearing your gear into the shower at home to test it. When you step out of your shower in your rain jacket and pants, you should be dry. If you are not, your gear is not fully waterproof.

As far as a backpack cover goes, this is handy when hiking or biking in the rain (yes, activities do happen rain or shine). If you plan on doing a lot of hiking trips, we recommend investing in a backpack cover. An inexpensive alternative is to line your backpack with a trash compactor bag (they are sturdy and hold up to a lot of wear and tear) or a regular trash bag. It won’t keep the backpack itself dry, but it will protect your things. Either way, we do suggest putting anything valuable inside a Ziploc or a dry bag.

“I use my phone for everything. Why do I need a battery-operated alarm clock?”

If you keep your phone in airplane mode and bring a portable power bank, you probably don’t need a separate alarm clock. But sometimes we stay in remote, off-the-grid locations where there is no power source available to charge a phone. You’ll want a watch or alarm clock to make sure you don’t miss any part of your adventure!

“I don’t own binoculars, and I don’t want to spend the money on a pair I might never use again.”

No problem! We include this item simply because binoculars are useful on trips where you have the chance to get up close and personal with wildlife, and because many guests have questions about the best type of binoculars to buy. However, they are certainly not mandatory.

“I’m going to Iceland. Why do I need mosquito repellent?”

True, there are no mosquitoes in Iceland. But there are midges, so the repellent (or a flynet) might come in handy! Here’s where you will want to use your judgment. If you don’t like to use chemical spray (we hear you!), you can bring a head net or natural spray or lotion, or simply bring long shirts or pants.

“Why do I need a headlamp if I’m staying in a hotel?”

This is of our most frequently asked questions. A headlamp is useful if you want to stay awake while your roommate sleeps. Sometimes you might be in a hotel for only part of your trip, and the headlamp will come in handy in another, more remote location.

“I have really good exercise socks. How do ski socks differ, and do I really need them for the Montana ski clinic?”

Trust us – you want tall, skiing-specific socks. Your shins will thank you all week.

“Can I do laundry on my trip?’

There is the option to have laundry done for you on almost every trip. We recommend doing laundry when you are staying in a hotel for at least two nights to give the staff enough time to wash and dry your clothes. If laundry service is not available, you can always wash your clothes in the sink or shower. If you have questions about when you can do laundry on a trip, ask your Trip Manager ahead of time or your Ambassador on the trip!

Every adventure is a unique. Please use your best judgement when packing and take your personal preferences into account for discretionary items like binoculars, but always ask us if you have any questions! This is our specialty. We love gear, and we are always happy to talk through the nuances and the details.

Happy packing!